Happy New Year!

Approximately 12:45 a.m. on Monday the Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched for a flue fire.  Upon arrival the structure was found completely involved.  Sadly it was a total loss despite the efforts of the fire department.  Not only do we need to be careful with our wood heat, we need to support our vital volunteer fire department.  Those volunteers train rigorously in the skills that are necessary to protect our lives and our property.  The annual dues are minimal and the protection is priceless.

Those black eyed peas on New Year’s Day ensure that we will eat at least that well all year.  Whether it is humble fare or a feast depends upon circumstances, and we do not have to look far to find someone whose situation is less favorable than our own.  So, we start a new year with compassion and the willingness to help where we can.

Threatening weather back home caused Champions Harley and Barbara Krider to beat a hasty retreat to Elmwood, shortening their Champion stay.  They missed The General’s birthday party which featured chocolate cake and a jazz jam of three generations–two guitars, a makeshift drum and a fine clarinet.  Music persists through the ages.  He was rung in with cowbells at the Vanzant jam on Thursday with a rousing rendition of that birthday song sung by friends, family, gypsies, neighbors, casual acquaintances, and rank strangers.

January birthdays start out with Arne Coon on the first along with Teeter Creek’s rock and roll grandmother, Jan Liebert.  Kabella Clark and guitar maven, Leland Isley, share the 2nd for their big day.  Jacob Coon celebrates on the 3rd together with Greta Thunberg and Butch Kara.  That was also the birthday of the late Esther Howard, whose hats were always as cheerful as her smile.  Sami McCleary Hutchison shares her birthday with ornery Lee Ray on the 4th.  Felix (The Farmer) Parsons, who was born in 2018, has the same birthday as David Upshaw on the 6th, though the year of David’s birth was some while back.  Travis Hathaway was twenty years old in 2017.  He sings “Jimmy Brown, the Newsboy.”

Journalist, Kaitlyn McConnell, paid a visit to Champion between the holidays.  It is always a treat to see her.  She has left her long-time position at Cox Health Care and is now dividing her time between The Community Foundation of the Ozarks and her blog, Ozarks Alive!  She is the eighth generation of her family here in the Ozarks and is very interested in preserving the culture and history of this part of the country.  Contact her at www.ozarksalive.com to share your history or lore.  She plans a visit to our Skyline R-2 School sometime this year to get acquainted with one of the last two rural schools in Douglas County.  She is in for a real treat.  School is back in session this week with well-rested, bright-eyed, enthusiastic students, teachers and staff.

The big crystal ball dropped down on Friday night.  The thermometer’s reading dropped down on Saturday and continued to do so on Sunday with swirling snow in the morning.  Then there was a little sunshine.  That seems to be the way it is as the year starts.  The KC Chiefs were down by three lousy points on Sunday reminding us that we do not always get what we want, that there is no glory in defeating a weak opponent, and that it is not over.  Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!